One of my favorite vacation spots is the Gulf Coast of Alabama’s Beaches. These laid back beach communities are loads of fun year-round, but the festivals they offer each spring and fall make these seasons especially fabulous.
Zydeco & Crawfish Festival (April)
Every April, Waterway Village hosts the Zydeco & Crawfish Festival, celebrating the deep south’s sounds and flavors. Zydeco bands, arts and crafts vendors, and tasty crawfish dishes are the big draws. This one-day festival kicks off with a fun run and 5K races and activities and programming just for kids. Admission is free.
Hangout Music Fest (May)
The Hangout Music Fest in mid-May takes place on the beach and at venues across Gulf Shores. People come from all over the country to enjoy music by big-name artists, like Cardi B. and The Lumineers, and newer artists alike. Besides the music, the festival embraces everything fabulous about this venue. Enjoy beach volleyball, hammock beach — where you can go to unwind, spa treatments, beach yoga, and roller disco. There’s even a puppy kissing booth to raise money for the local humane society.
Geared for adults, ages 18+, a variety of ticket options and vacation packages are available.
Annual National Shrimp Festival (October)
The Annual National Shrimp Festival spans four days over the second weekend in October every year. Ranked as one of the 21 best food festivals in North America, it offers something for just about everyone. Of course, the feature is shrimp — more than 10,000 pounds are prepared by chefs and restaurants each day. Other entertainment includes live bands, an art fair, cooking demonstrations by local and celebrity chefs, and a children’s activity village. Admission is free.
Hangout Oyster Cook-off & Craft Beer Weekend (November)
Gulf Shores’ Hangout Oyster Cookoff is a “two for one” festival featuring coastal oysters and craft brew. It features North American oysters, with regional specialties from around the country, prepared by dozens of famous and local chefs from across the US. Admission to the Oyster Cookoff is $10, and kids under age 12 are free. Craft Beer Weekend complements the Oyster Cookoff and features craft brews at events for the 21+ crowd on Friday and Saturday. Cooking demonstrations, live music, and other entertainment round out this event.
Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival (November)
The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival spans multiple venues along the Gulf Coast over ten days. It draws Grammy Award-winning songwriters as well as newcomers to the field. Musical performances in cozy venues allow festival attendees to interact with composers and learn the story behind the lyrics as music is performed. The festival honors the moral character and integrity of Frank Brown, a night watchman at the FloraBama for 28 years. That’s quite a legacy.
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